My first taste of travelling somewhere exotic began when I was about 15 years old, when I spent a month in Mexico, and absolutely loved the buzz of doing something different every day. After I finished school, I set my sights on Africa, and did a three-month overland tour around Tanzania, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa and Zambia. We spent about half this time in the foothills of Kilimanjaro, before heading on to hike, bungee-jump, scuba-dive, quad-bike and much more around the remaining countries. After a few more months travelling around Australia, New Zealand and Asia I returned to the UK to start university.
While studying economics at Exeter University, I took advantage of the long holidays to explore other corners of the world across Asia and travelling through Europe. After graduating, I packed up and moved to France to spend 6 months working in the Alps, before swapping the snow for the sun to spend 2 months doing marine conservation in the Seychelles.
I returned to London in 2009 to join the Expert Africa team. Since there I have spent 6-8 weeks each year travelling through Africa.
Highlights include trekking gorillas in both Rwanda and the Congo, climbing Kilimanjaro, chimpanzee trekking in the remote Mahale Mountains National Park, and fly-camping in the Selous.
I now spend the majority of my time helping to expand and develop our website and back-of-house systems, but am looking forward to my next trip back to Africa!
Elizabeth's most recent Africa trips
Having not spent any real time in Ruaha in almost 8 years I was thrilled to discover it was just as special as I remembered. We had some remarkable game viewing, especially given we went early in the season - including wild dog, leopard and more elephant than I could possibly try and count! Kichaka was far and away the highlight - it doesn't get much better than following a small group of elephants, watching, and observing, and then retreating without them ever having known we were there. A very special place indeed.
Having covered off Namibia's most popular areas on previous trips, it was time to explore some slightly more off the beaten track areas! This trip took me down through southern Namibia to the incredible Fish River Canyon, and over to Aus and Luderitz. There were some long, dusty drives, but standing on the edge of the Canyon certainly makes it worth it - it was spectacular. Lüderitz was a sleepy little place, but I loved the Zeepaard boat trip, and would highly recommend it to anyone who ventures this far.
I was excited about returning to the Selous after many years. This was just a short trip, stopping in at some old favourite camps, as well as visiting Azura Selous - which was new for me. The Selous was experiencing some late rains this year which ran into 2015, so the game wasn't as good as we'd been hoping, but the boat trips were just as beautiful as I remembered. Finishing with a few days on the coast at Ras Kutani was a perfect relaxing end to the trip.
Elizabeth's previous Africa research
Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia
I helped research the Pemba, Mafia and Stone Town chapters of this book. Our trip (in February) coincided with Sauti za Busara - a music festival in Stone Town. Dancing in an old fort surrounded by Maasai was a strange but amazing experience!